St. Augustine, Fla. – With just over one minute remaining in double-overtime, freshman midfielder Thibault Chretien found the back of the net to cap off a 3-2 come from behind victory for the Lander men’s soccer team (5-2, 2-0 PBC) over Flagler.
After 30 minutes of play, the odds were stacked against the Bearcats as the Saints (1-4, 0-2 PBC) connected with two goals behind the efforts of junior midfielder Quam Salami. Lander scrambled to gain four corner kicks to close the first half; however, the Bearcats failed to capitalize on any opportunities as the Saints headed to the half with the 2-0 advantage.
In the second half, the Bearcats’ fortunes began to change. After being awarded a corner kick in the 51st minute, junior midfielder Oliver Brock placed a timely ball in the box. Flagler junior defender Keiron Matthews over-defended on the Lander attack and was whistled for a red card inside the box.
Lander would be granted a penalty kick from the resulting foul and the Saints would be forced to play the rest of the game with 10 men. Junior defender Jordan Skelton calmly stepped up to the penalty mark and buried his fourth goal of the season to cut the Flagler lead to 2-1.
In the 62nd minute, the Bearcats found the equalizer as Chretien lobbed a crossing ball to senior forward Sam Lofts for the header goal. The goal marked Lofts’ 19th career score with Lander.
Lander took nine shots in the closing 28 minutes with six of those shots coming on goal. Flagler goalkeeper Iwan Roberts kept composed as the Welsh native saved all six shots on goal from the Bearcats.
With the scored tied at two, the two sides headed for overtime in both team’s first extra period game of the season. Lander continued to exploit the Saints’ 10-man unit in the game’s first overtime period, but the Flagler defense held strong for the full ten minutes.
Perhaps as a precursor of things to come, Chretien took took three shots before his game-winning goal in the second overtime. Chretien’s first attempt sailed wide with his second being saved by Roberts and his third being deflected off the post.
However the freshman Frenchman would not be denied. With just over a minute remaining to play, Chretien smoked a free kick into the back of the net for his second career goal.
The win marked the Lander’s first extra period victory since October 15th of last season when the Bearcats knocked off Young Harris 3-2 at home in a double-overtime victory.
The Bearcats will be back in action on Wednesday at home versus Francis Marion at 7:30 p.m.